January 22, 2014 at 3:30 pm EDT | by Valerie Blake
The homeowner’s guide to exercise
kitchen, cleaning, gay news, Washington Blade, exercise

Cleaning your house burns a surprising amount of calories. (Photo by iStock)

If you’re like many of us, you made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight and get in shape.  You threw away the bags of chips in the pantry, gave the rest of the Christmas cookies to the neighbor kids and vowed never again to walk down the ice cream aisle at Harris Teeter. You even brought the treadmill up from the basement so you could exercise while watching “Flowers in the Attic.”

Yes, your intentions were admirable (as were mine), but then that comfy sofa started calling your name, Jillian Michaels became even more annoying and you couldn’t resist ordering extra pizza and nachos for Sunday’s Super Bowl game.

To those of you who love working out at the gym, playing Ultimate Frisbee with your pals on a cold Saturday morning or jogging around the National Mall, I salute you. But if you’re like me, always the last person picked for a team from elementary through high school, the humiliation of public exercise and lack of sports ability still takes its toll many years later.

Most experts agree that you need to burn 3,500 calories to lose a pound of fat, so it’s hard enough for people on the chocolate chip pancake diet just to stay even, but we forget about the everyday things we do that can contribute to weight loss. Here’s what I suggest.

Get up in the morning. In the 10 minutes it takes to make your bed, you burn 27 calories.  Brush your teeth to burn 34 more and style your hair for 20 minutes to burn another 72.

Clean the house. Spend 20 minutes washing dishes – by hand, no cheating – to burn 63 calories, then get to the real work. Thirty minutes each of dusting, vacuuming, mopping floors, washing windows, doing the laundry and ironing will yield a 773-calorie deficit. But also consider the additional benefit – the 30 extra minutes spent running up and down the stairs doing all this for the 245-calorie burn.

Mind the kids. How much time do you spend carrying a baby on your hip? One hour equals 302 calories burned. An additional hour of playing with your child at the park consumes another 327.

Walk the dog. A 30-minute walk will help you and your dog burn 143 calories. Have more than one dog? Walk them individually.

Go to work. Driving for an hour consumes 172 calories, so some might say that commuting is actually good for you.

Decorate and renovate. My favorite home stager is in great shape and it’s no wonder, since 60 minutes spent rearranging the furniture will burn 540 calories. Take an hour to paint that spare bedroom, something that’s been on your To Do list for six months, and you’ll burn 409 calories. A 30-minute home repair garners 184 more.

Do weekend chores out of doors. There’s an outdoor chore for every type of weather. Take 30 minutes each for the following tasks and feel the burn: raking leaves (164), shoveling snow (245), mowing the lawn (178), tending the garden (222) and washing the car (184).

Have a party. Go grocery shopping for an hour for a 286-calorie burn (no nibbling along the way, please) then cook dinner for half an hour when you get home for another 108. When your friends arrive, play an hour of bridge to lose 130 calories, tickle the ivories during a 30-minute sing-along for 113 more and finish off the evening with an hour of dancing to your living room Wii console for 486.

Go to bed. Finally, sleep for seven hours and burn 530 calories.

Now, for those of you who have been waiting for me to mention it, sex does indeed enter into the picture; however, 10 minutes of foreplay only burns 20 calories and 20 minutes of, er, follow-up, surprisingly only burns 115, so when your best friend tells you he burned 1,000 calories having sex last Saturday night, be impressed. I know I am.

Valerie M. Blake can be reached at 202-246-8602 or Valerie@DCHomeQuest.com. Each Keller Williams Realty office is independently owned and operated. Equal Housing Opportunity.

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